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In this Update:
- Strengthening the Integrity of Pennsylvania’s Elections
- Robinson Applauds Continued State Investment in Development of Neighborhood 91 at the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus
- Mastriano and Robinson Bill to Fund Law Enforcement Enacted into Law as Part of Pennsylvania Budget
- Special Education Additional School Year Notification Deadline is Monday
- New Law Improves Access to Home Health Care Services
- Help for Veterans and Beneficiaries Facing Unexpected Hardships
- Public Hearing on Veterans’ Homelessness
- Watch Out for Energy Marketing Scams
- Please Support Local Independent Retailers
- Out and about in the 37th
Strengthening the Integrity of Pennsylvania’s Elections
Most Pennsylvanians say they are dissatisfied with the way elections are conducted in the state, according to a recent poll. To address this, the General Assembly passed one of the most significant election integrity packages in America.
The General Assembly passed two proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution addressing elections. If approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session, the questions will be put on the ballot for voters to decide.
One of these amendments would require all voters to present a valid form of identification prior to voting in person or by mail. Seventy-four percent of Pennsylvanians support requiring voters to present identification to vote.
A separate proposed amendment would require the General Assembly to provide for audits of elections, including the administration of elections and the results. This crucial work would be performed by the state Auditor General.
In addition to moving these constitutional questions one step closer to voters, the General Assembly passed Act 88 of 2022 to get private money out of the administration of our elections. The legislation was created after certain counties received millions of dollars from a group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg during the 2020 Election.
The new law creates grants for counties to cover costs such as hiring and training staff, printing ballots and managing voting machines and tabulation equipment. In return, counties who accept the money are required to take several critical steps to ensure the integrity of the process.
Pennsylvanians have advocated for real and meaningful changes that will promote confidence in the fairness of our election system. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to ensure every part of our voting system is above reproach.
Robinson Applauds Continued State Investment in Development of Neighborhood 91 at the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus
HARRISBURG – Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37) today applauded Pennsylvania’s continued investment in Neighborhood 91 at the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus (PAIC). Earlier this week, it was announced that the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) awarded $3 million to the Allegheny County Airport Authority toward the project’s development.
“So much of western Pennsylvania was built on innovation, and here in heart of the 37th District at Pittsburgh International Airport, progress is being made at Neighborhood 91, the first development in the world to both condense and connect all components of the additive manufacturing and 3D printing supply chain into one powerful production ecosystem,” said Robinson. “This project has the potential to advance the Pittsburgh region’s role as a world leader in this industry and I am pleased to see the Commonwealth’s continued investment in PAIC.”
The Authority will receive $1,200,000 through a Business in Our Sites Grant and $1,800,000 through a Business in Our Sites Loan for Phase III. Future plans include additional commercial, research and development space.
“The next phase of manufacturing in Pennsylvania is taking shape at Neighborhood 91 at the Pittsburgh Innovation Campus, where companies are using advanced manufacturing solutions in a growing number of applications. We are appreciative of the support from the Commonwealth, that paired with Sen. Robinson’s leadership and vision, will help grow this campus and region,” said Vince Gastgeb, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Relations with the Allegheny County Airport Authority.
The project was funded by the CFA, which is an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development that administers many of Pennsylvania’s economic development and community improvement programs.
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania 2022-23 budget invested $135 million into a brand-new law enforcement grant recovery program designed to help agencies protect neighborhoods from violent crime and drugs, said Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33).
Mastriano co-sponsored the original legislation with Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37) in June after months of raising awareness about the devastating impact the pandemic and anti-police sentiment had on police recruitment, retention, and crime prevention efforts.
“We know law enforcement agencies have faced a unique set of challenges since 2020,” Mastriano said. “Rising crime, influx of deadly drugs like fentanyl, staff shortages, and dwindling resources have only exacerbated these problems. This investment signifies our commitment to helping officers protect and serve their communities, ultimately saving lives.”
“There are few jobs as challenging and dangerous as that of a law enforcement officer. Across the Commonwealth, those officers who have already sacrificed so much are enduring longer hours, extra shifts and staff shortages caused by record-high departures and recruitment difficulties,” said Robinson. “Our communities are safer when our police are fully staffed and I am pleased to see this significant state investment in this effort.”
Law enforcement agencies can use the grants to offer incentives to attract new recruits, retain current officers, expand training, and update equipment and other technologies.
The Local Law Enforcement Support Grant will be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, who will determine awards for applicants. To ensure transparency and oversight, reports and performance metrics will be required to detail how agencies used the money.
In addition to the grant program, the 2022-23 budget also provided for additional funding for the Pennsylvania State Police to hire 200 more troopers to combat rising violent crime
Special Education Additional School Year Notification Deadline is Monday
The General Assembly recently passed a proposal to provide an additional year of instruction to special education students who reached the age of 21 during the 2021-22 school year or before the 2022-23 school year starts.
Due to COVID-19, many of these students suffered immense learning loss and need a bridge before aging out of the public school system.
Information about this provision is available here. Parents must submit the Act 55 of 2022 Student Enrollment Notification Form to their school district by this Monday, Aug. 1.
New Law Improves Access to Home Health Care Services
Legislation recently passed by the General Assembly and enacted into law will help improve access to home health care services by making permanent two regulations waived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, non-physician practitioners were unable to order or oversee orders for home health care services. Additionally, registered nurses were not able to perform remote visits to patients in need of home health care services.
Due to great need, those regulations were waived during the pandemic. Act 30 of 2022 makes these exceptions permanent, so health care services are more accessible to those individuals who cannot leave their homes to obtain care or treatment.
Help for Veterans and Beneficiaries Facing Unexpected Hardships
Pennsylvania veterans and beneficiaries facing a crisis can receive financial relief for necessities of life such as food, shelter, fuel and clothing through the Veterans Temporary Assistance program.
Eligible veterans or their beneficiaries can qualify for up to $1,600 in a 12-month period. Eligibility requirements include: a person who served in the U.S. Armed Forces (discharged under honorable conditions), died in service or was killed in action, or suffered a service-connected disability.
To apply, contact the County Veterans Affairs Director in your county.
Public Hearing on Veterans’ Homelessness
Thank you to Senator Joe Pittman and Senator Pat Stefano for inviting me to join in this week’s joint hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee on veterans’ homelessness, hosted by Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard.
These men and women who have already sacrificed so much told us their incredible stories of the help they received in their time of need and what they are doing now to assist other veterans who face similar issues.
Watch Out for Energy Marketing Scams
Consumers should be alert for potential energy marketing scams, especially unsolicited telemarketing calls requesting immediate action and promising far-reaching savings on energy bills.
One type of misleading solicitation involves robocalls from unidentified sources making vague and potentially misleading statements about customer discounts, refunds, rebates and bonuses if the customer acts now. The calls often appear as a local telephone number on recipients’ caller ID, which is often fake or “spoofed,” or the calls fail to display any number at all.
According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, if the sales agent fails to immediately identify themselves and the reason for the call, the consumer should end the call. Find out more about scammers and how to avoid them here.
Please Support Local Independent Retailers
Local, independent retailers reinvest more of their revenues than chain retailers and much more of their revenues than Amazon. Shopping local and supporting independent retailers contributes to the health and prosperity of our communities. I hope you give them a chance to earn your business year-round.
Out and about in the 37th
I was honored to recognize Louis Mafrice Sr. on his 100th birthday. Louis served as a radio man in the European Theater during WWII, raised a wonderful family and spent 30 years working with the Post Office. Happy birthday, Louis!
I had a great visit at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where I got to see what goes on behind the scenes. Thank you to their staff and Board of Directors for a tour of this incredible building!
I had a great time visiting YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Camp Olympus day camp at Settlers park!
I was thrilled to attend the ribbon cutting for the Grand Opening of Dee Jay’s BBQ in Collier. Congratulations!
A great afternoon at KingView Mead in Mt. Lebanon hearing about their fantastic products and expansion. Thank you for having me!
Woodville Experience commemorated the 229th anniversary of the Whiskey Rebellion today. Thanks to all the passionate volunteers there who keep this important piece of history alive!
I attended the ground breaking of Always “B” Smiling’s new facility on the Montour Trail in Peters Township. “B” is for Bennet Huibregtse who loved Superman and the outdoors. His parents, Kristin and Dean, will use this portion of the trail donated by TA Robinson to keep his memory alive for other children to enjoy.